The Global Challenge of Peace

BookThe Global Challenge of Peace

The Global Challenge of Peace

1919 as a Contested Threshold to a New World Order

Studies in Labour History, 17


September 1st, 2021



Other Formats



This book scrutinizes the events of 1919 from below: the global underside of the Wilsonian moment. During 1919 the Great Powers redrew the map of the world with the Treaties of Paris and established the League of Nations intending to prevent future war. Yet what is often missed is that 1919 was a complex threshold between war and peace contested on a global scale. This process began prior to war’s end with mutinies, labour and consumer unrest, colonial revolt but reached a high point in 1919. Most obviously, the Russian Revolutions of 1917 continued into 1919 which signalled a decisive year for the Bolshevik regime. While the leaders of the Great Powers famously drew up new states in their Parisian hotel rooms, state formation also had a popular dynamic. The Irish Republic was declared. Afghanistan gained independence. Labour unrest was widespread. This year witnessed the emergence of anti-colonial insurgency and movements across Europe’s colonies; in metropolitan centres of Empire, race riots took place in the UK and during the ‘red summer’ in the US, anti-colonial movements, as well as an important moment of political enfranchisement for women but their expulsion from the wartime labour force. 1919 has many legacies: the first Arab spring, with the awakening of nationalism in the Wilsonian and Bolshevik context; the moment (as a consequence of Jallianwala Bagh) that Britain definitively lost its moral claim to India; the definitive announcement of Black presence in the UK; the great reversal of women’s participation in the skilled occupations; the first Fascist movement was founded.

'Attractive in its international coverage and notable for fresh research, this book is a high quality collection of essays on a critical period of interwar history. It provides a valuable reassessment of the period after the end of the First World War.'
Professor Chris Wrigley, University of Nottingham

Author Information

Matt Perry is Reader in Labour History, Newcastle University.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Notes on Contributors11
I Race, Labour and Empire37
1 The Black and the Red39
2 Revisiting Red Clydeside55
3 The 1919 Mutinies in the French Armed Forces73
4 C. L. R. James, the Mass Strike of 1919 in Colonial Trinidad and The Case for West Indian Self-Government91
II Transnationalism Women’s Activism in 1919107
5 Sylvia Pankhurst in 1919109
6 Women as Peacemakers127
7 1919: Opportunities and Constraints for Women Activists143
III Revolution and Counter-Revolution159
8 The Forward March of Reactionary Working-Class Politics?161
9 1919: Revolution in Austria177
10 The ‘Soviet Ark’ in Context197
IV Contested Transitions to Peace213
11 Nationalism and Revolution215
12 Educating the Peace233
13 British Military Missions as Intermediaries between Western Europe and Lithuania in 1919 and the 1920s249
V Reinterpretations of 1919267
14 The General Strike of July 1919269
15 The German Revolution at War’s End287